Get Vegetarian Food in Schools Across the Country!

Lunch Lady
I remember becoming a vegetarian at the age of 14 and how on the days that I didn’t bring a packed lunch I would wonder what I would find to eat at school that day. Sometimes that meant that I would get a juice, a bag of pretzels, and an apple from the cafeteria. Other days it would mean asking the assembly-line–style cafeteria workers to please leave the heaping mound of ground beef off my taco salad and just load it with veggies and beans instead—which, fortunately, they were willing to do!

I always wished I could have had more veggie options, though. Fortunately, in the new year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be reviewing the Child Nutrition Act, which, among other things, covers the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The USDA is accepting comments on how to revise the program until October 15, so please write soon to ask for more vegetarian options for your child’s school! To send a message, either use this form, or send an e-mail to [email protected].’

Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your e-mail:

• Be polite. Being negative about the lack of vegetarian options at your child’s school won’t help.

• Explain that you care about your child’s health, the environment, and animals, and vegetarian food supports all those things. Not to mention that everyone deserves to be accommodated regarding their ethical, religious, and dietary preferences.

• List some options of what you’d like to see added. Bean-and-rice burritos, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, veggie chili, and pasta with marinara sauce and veggies are all a good start.

• Ask for soy milk as an alternative to dairy milk. It’s great for vegans, for those who are lactose-intolerant, and for soy enthusiasts!

• Be sure to say thanks for taking your thoughts into consideration. It is so important to write to USDA officials and ask them to include vegetarian and vegan meals in the National School Lunch Program.

Change happens when people speak up (or, in this case, write in)—the Child Nutrition Act is only reviewed every four years, so let’s do something now!

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  • Brittany commented on October 7, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Great Article!My School is loaded with a bunch of high fat foods and alot of my classmates are overweight.I barely eat anything at school because almost all there food consists of meat!Even the salads have chicken mixed in!!After reading this Article I now want to message my school.Thank you for this article!PETA Rocks!

  • Eileen Said commented on October 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    How wonderful it would be if schools across the United States of America served vegetarian meals to our children. Doesn’t anyone understand that not every child consumes animals???
    Besides, there would be less obese children. So. Please???? Vegetarian meals is the way to go.

  • Dani commented on October 14, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    My boyfriend and I are both in college and lacto-vegetarian. In our freshmen year, limited vegetarian options were offered beyond the occasional veggie burger, a small salad and some fruit cups. When offered a survey, my boyfriend completed 32 copies asking for “vegetarian and vegan options.” the survey results surprised the school so much that they now offer veggie soup once a week, veggie burgers every day, larger salads, humus wraps, cheese pizza, fresh fruit, smoothie, oven baked fries, and waffles! Moral of the story- when asked, make your option well known. The louder you make it, the more they will listen.

  • Hana commented on November 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I’m a 16 year old vegetarian and I am still in high school. I’ve tried to get alternatives for my school but everyone I talked to refused by saying that they offer enough “vegetarian-friendly” foods. These foods consist of brown soggy lettuce for a salad, fruit that is starting to rot, and real milk instead of soy. Many times I go without eating lunch. That’s not healthy. On days we have tacos, I get a tortilla shell and thats it. I don’t even get anything on it. This is starting to become a daily thing and there are quite a few vegetarians at my school. I’m not going to give up on trying to get real vegetarian-friendly meals in my school.